JENDELA: Phase 2 in Johor Will Focus on Bridging the Digital Divide

Addressing the progress of enabling telecommunication for all in Johor state

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Johor Education, Information, Heritage and Culture Committee chairman Mazlan Bujang

In terms of internet access and government action to upgrade the communication system in Johor, the state government, through the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), has plans to upgrade the telecommunication system, particularly in the rural areas, through the National Digital Network Action Plan (JENDELA) developed jointly by industry players and the government.

“The government truly understands the problems of telecommunications coverage faced by the people today and there is no doubt that there are many more areas that still do not have perfect telecommunications coverage,” Johor Education, Information, Heritage and Culture Committee chairman Mazlan Bujang, said in his answer during the State Assembly (DUN).

He said that the majority of the areas that do not have access to fibre-optic fixed lines are in rural and remote areas where the population is less densely populated, the majority of the population are senior citizens, settlements or villages in farms, as well as settlements that do not have access to proper communication and power line.

Telecommunication service providers refuse to invest in such locations because development and operational costs are too expensive with no promising returns. Although the National Digital Network (JENDELA) action plan has been developed to address this problem, there are constraints that need to be resolved and addressed in achieving this goal.

Planned to be implemented in stages at least over a period of 5 years starting from 2020, JENDELA, which is being deployed in stages with phase 1 starting in 2020 and ending in 2022, aims to build 233 new telecommunication towers in the state of Johor, the majority of which are in rural areas and 101 of which have already been completed until June 2021.

3,409 existing transmitters will be updated to 4G services, with 2,877 of them completed by June 2021.

Meanwhile, JENDELA phase 1 aims at 413,493 additional premises; the majority of which are also in rural areas, to have access to fibre optic high-speed broadband, with 146,766 premises already having fibre optic equipment in place until June 2021.

Phase 1 will also shut down the 3G network in stages, with 3G projected to be completely abolished by the end of 2021. These initiatives are aimed at improving the quality of 4G networks while also indirectly laying the groundwork for the deployment of 5G networks, which will begin in the fourth quarter of 2021.

JENDELA’s second phase will focus on closing the digital divide that was not bridged in phase one, including the implementation of “fixed wireless access” (FWA) technology and other relevant technologies.